Today, Tuesday 3rd February, I engaged in a webinar. I mean, I didn’t just sit and take notes to pass round colleagues at work (who inevitably would skim over them and file them away under ‘Useful’ in their Outlook systems), but I really engaged It was run by CELT Athens, a Teacher Development centre in the Greek capital, and was aimed at people about to embark on CELTA courses: ooh ooh, me, pick me!
I had stumbled upon the course during one of my sessions of perusing some ELT forums on Facebook. As it happened, I didn’t actually get one of the few limited spaces on the course when I first found it, and I was initially a bit cross because I thought ‘pfft, limited spaces?! On a webinar?! Whoever said online learning was for all?’ etc etc. That sounds like a ridiculous little tantrum, I know, and it wasn’t really that bad in reality. But, the thing was, I couldn’t believe my luck in accidentally encountering the ideal online course for my needs – never mind a free one – only to be told that spaces were limited! Nonetheless, I wrote a little message asking if I could please be informed if some people dropped out.
I thought nothing of it really, but I was working from home on Tuesday, and as I was finishing with my emails around 5pm, I logged into Facebook, where I saw a notification from CELT Athens. A wonderful woman called Marisa had kindly posted a link to the Adobe Connect webinar suite where the lesson was taking place, so I clicked straight through and landed right in the middle of a lesson about how to give instructions in the classroom.
I’d missed the first half hour or so, but I quickly got the impression that I hadn’t been the only one with technical or access issues! Despite all such difficulties, the trainer, Alexander, handled the webinar admirably and really let us engage with his slides and his prompts. I’ve attended webinars in Adobe Connect before, but I never realised quite how much freedom the presenter can give the students using the software – we were able to write (well, type!) on little Post-It notes that popped up in our screens, we typed answers in the chat box (so we weren’t all speaking over each other) and apparently we can even be ‘sent’ to breakout areas, to have little discussions in smaller groups online. All pretty cool, huh?
Well, you might not think so, but as I get more and more fascinated with the world of online learning in advance of moving to Berlin, I thought it was pretty damn awesome. For once, I was thankful of my Facebook procrastination habit, which had let me to accidentally get involved (read: gatecrash!) I’m hoping I’m able to get onto the next course, too – especially as Alexander set us some homework, to look through a worksheet of exercises, and write out the instructions we would issue to get students to start working on each one. No point doing homework if nobody’s going to mark it now, is there? 😉